I am so excited to start teaching a Bible study at church starting this Wednesday. It is called Prayer in the Battle. Our main text will be out of the book of Nehemiah. I will start with some historical information from Ezra and I will add information about the armor that God gives us in Ephesians 6.
As God has done on other occasions, when I’m reading the word intent on one message, words jump off the page and I go in a totally different direction as I follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. One example of this would be my post a couple of months ago titled “Who is in Your Boat?”.
As I’m reading Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah 1, I think to myself, this sounds familiar. And what God showed me was that Nehemiah’s prayer followed the same basic outline as the Lord’s prayer. Nehemiah had heard that the Israelites had gone back to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, and were in great distress and reproach. He sat down and wept, and mourned for many days. He was fasting and praying before God the following prayer.
Let’s look at the comparison.
Verse 5 reads “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments”
Compare that with “Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be Your name”
Verse 6-7 read “ please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept Your commandments, the statute, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.”
Compare that with “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and “forgive us our debts”.
Versus 8-9 say “Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses saying, if you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.”
Compare that with “Give us this day our daily bread”. Jesus is the Bread of Life and also the Word of God. Scripture tells us that we cannot live by bread alone but by the very word that comes from God. We must draw close to God and keep His commandments which are taught to us in the Scriptures.
Verse 10 says “Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand.”
Compare that with “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Verse 11 says “Oh Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name, and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man [the king].”
Compare that with “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”
Nehemiah goes on to find favor in the sight of the king. The king sends him to Jerusalem to rebuild the defense wall around the city. It’s a great book and I encourage you to read it. It’s one of my favorites.
I find it very interesting that this prayer of Nehemiah’s was in the same style as to the prayer Jesus told his disciples to pray. The disciples had asked him to teach them how they should pray. And He goes on to pray the Lord’s prayer.
I am not in favor of rote memorization and regurgitating back what you learned. But I am a big fan of praying God’s word back to Him. We can be assured that when we pray His word, that it is His will. Thy will be done, Lord, this day and forever more!